Two days ago, I turned 23 years old. My birthday looked a little different this year, as did many others’ birthdays, I’m sure. This virus has felt like a pause, a reset, a time to reflect. This is not a time for productivity, it is a pandemic. I have tried to remind myself of this.
Coming from teaching several hours a day, to quarantined and not able to do anything has been challenging to me. But as I go through each day of reflection and what living in the Dominican has taught me, is that where I am, with people that love me, with a roof above my head and food on the table is not how everyone is quarantining.
My situation is not the case of everyone and I am fully aware of this. Not just in the Dominican, but here in the US. But the closest to my heart goes to the ones quarantined in abusive homes. Young girls and boys, they depend on schools, on relatives, on friends, on communities to help them. Once all of those places are taken away, they are left with the abuse. As a teacher that has worked with students in several places that had been through trauma, these children are waiting on their rescue. To some, like myself, this might feel like a time to restart, to reflect, but to others this is a time that they are stuck with no place to go.
Leaving those sweet New Hope girls was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do, but to know that they are quarantined in a place that gives them love everyday in multiple forms, that is enough for me. New Hope isn’t stopping the rescues, there are still rescues to be done, girls to be taken out of the darkest of places. A pandemic goes on, but with all the precautions taken, the rescues continue. That is what I love about New Hope. The girls are the priority, not just the girls in their care already but those in the campos, in the cuidades, awaiting their rescue.
Getting on a plane after saying a short and unexpected goodbye to 20 girls that I had watched grow for 9 and a half months was something I will never forget. I have sat here with my laptop ready to write several times this week and last trying to put it all into words. My processing leaving the DR, my processing of COVID-19, my processing of next steps and as hard as I try, I get frustrated trying to put it all into words. Maybe I’m not ready. Maybe it’s a bit of an overload in my brain with too much going on. Maybe it’s like that for each of you. And that is ok. It takes time. This is a weird moment in life, a scary moment in life. This could be the lesson that God is trying to teach me, slow down and it’s ok that I don’t have it all figured out right now. This will take time, let yourself feel the emotions, let yourself have writer’s blocks, let yourself be ok with not fully understanding everything at the moment.